Ispectrum Magazine Ispectrum Magazine #06 - Page 25

and researchers, including Professor David McNeil, who met Waterman to find out if there was still any kind of automatic process that was enabling him to use gestures again. McNeil asked Waterman to watch a cartoon and later asked him to describe it. During his description Waterman used gestures to signal some of the events in the cartoon. After studying the video recording of this description McNeil pointed out that Waterman had an incredibly well honed synchronization between his hand actions and his speech, with both being presented simultaneously. This would seem to suggest that gesture is an instinctive part of language, controlled by a part of the brain separate to that of movement. To prove this McNeil then asked Waterman to report the events of the cartoon again, but this time without being able to see his body. If McNeil was right and gesture is controlled by a different area of the brain to movement then Waterman should still be able to present a synchronized description using speech and gesture, regardless of the fact he cannot see his hands. Sure enough, Waterman’s timing of gesture was still there, backing 24 McNeil’s theory. But without seeing his hands his movements became imprecise. Waterman’s visualizing the gesture in his head helps him express himself better, although not perfectly. In gesture it seems that there is a link between visualization and movement, which helps link our speech and our gestures, which contributes to how Waterman has recaptured his use of them.